Depression can really keep you away from the things you love. I’ve been “away” from this blog for exactly one year. Its crazy. To me it had just felt like a mere few months, but that’s how it works. It robs you of your time and if you don’t get a hold of it will take away your joy. Continue reading If It Doesn’t Bring You Joy
Category Archives: SINGLEMOM
Help me Tom Cruise, Oprah and Baby Jesus
I just burst out in tears, not my proudest moments as a parent but we all have these moments sometimes where we just fall apart. I dare any parent to tell me otherwise. Recently I have entered the wonderful world teenage years. This is the area where your baby starts to define who they are, they test boundaries, they grow, they dont need you, but still need you so much. To me it’s like revisiting the toddler years but with testosterone Continue reading Help me Tom Cruise, Oprah and Baby Jesus
Single Mom, Child Support and other dirty words
I am not exactly sure when the negative stigma of being a single mother started. It seems to me that the only honorable way to go through this unscathed is to be a widow. I look at examples in the bible, women were married off, stories in history where women were bashed, I read comments from keyboard warriors and articles about how we are the demise of society. If you become a single mother from some type of tragic accident, you become strong and people feel compassion for you. Otherwise you are a careless, Jezebel, harlot with no morals or values and we get painted as husband stealing, half assing, horrible people. Someone literally has to die for me to be OK as a single mother. Let that sink in. I remember being young and watching something on the news about Dan Quayle slamming a character on TV named Murphy Brown because she had chosen to become a single mother and I couldn’t understand why people were so upset. I was about 8 or 9 so, there wasn’t much to understand honestly. My own mother had become pregnant with me at 17 and her and my father were hastily married a month later. Granted they just celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary yesterday, but in 1979 had she chosen to go it alone, i imagine that she would have been branded with a Scarlet letter across her chest. In 2004, when i became pregnant, i also received side-eye glances and was shunned by people i thought where my friends. Some people at church wouldn’t speak to me and it baffled me then. I was still the same person they liked yesterday. I was still kind and smart and loving. I wasn’t damaged. But religiously it showed that i was weak, that I gave into the flesh. I thought that was the most absurd thing to hear. I could have easily gotten an abortion and they would have never known. They could have continued to love me being none the wiser. But it was when i decided to carry this amazing life into this world that i received the most backlash from strangers and people. Meanwhile, there were revered people in the church beating their wives, having affairs, snorting cocaine before a sermon, but no one was talking about that, because that “sin” was in secret, mine was on the outside, growing stronger and healthier by the minute. I refused to be shamed or hang my head low. I made my choice and i moved on, leaving behind toxic people who i realized at that moment were never my friends to begin with.
Fast forward to 12 years later and as you know my kid is my world, my everything. I work, sleep, eat and breath to make anything possible for him. Our life is full of love and wonder and magic at times. People still look at me crazy, wondering what I’m up to and why I haven’t gotten married yet. As women we are summed up by the value of a man in our lives. It’s no wonder we suffer from self-esteem issues and feel worthless at times. We get reminded daily that we have “baggage” that we are “baggage”. There aren’t many men who want to step up and help raise another mans child. Those that do are saints. They should be elevated to sainthood, because you looked past the stigma and you saw love and a family and you wanted that so badly for yourself. Kudos to you.
It’s no secret that my ex and I have had our shares of major downs with a few ups sprinkled in between. For those that aren’t familiar ill summarize: Gas-lighting, emotional verbally abusive person who would try to break me down daily until i finally left.
Its been almost 4 years now, in that time I managed to buy my son and I a house, i paid off my car, i moved him to an excellent school district. He plays sports, plays in the band at school, he has sleepovers, we have a dog and a cat, friends and family who love us and life for the most part is good. The area that is lacking to be perfectly honest is that his father, although living just 5 miles away is mainly absent by choice. Only showing up when its convenient, often going “missing” for weeks at a time. It has taken a toll on our son emotionally and is one of the causes of his depression. It is something i cannot fix. All these years i have been solely responsible for him financially and physically. His father at times has helped, but only if i begged and pleaded. So sometimes we went without because i didn’t have it in me to humiliate myself again. My parents and friends have stepped in to help with groceries or bills or lunch money when i was in dire straits. I have applied for scholarships for him to play sports and gotten creative with couponing and grocery shopping etc. I have made payment plans with doctors and schools just so he doesn’t have to feel like “the kid of a single mom” I don’t qualify for financial assistance because apparently the government thinks I’m rich, and that’s OK. He has no idea, my son that financial sacrifices that are made and i don’t want him to feel bad about it. The home i bought us sits in a multi million dollar neighborhood, i bought it at a foreclosure for $150,000. So he plays with wealthy children and gets that great education and he doesn’t know that if not for that wonderful fortune of events, we could never afford a house so nice in a nice neighborhood.
A couple of years ago after struggling to pay for after care at school and stressed about having to send my son to my parents for the summer because I couldn’t afford summer babysitting, I finally applied for child support. I was nervous and drove almost an hour to the office with all the information i might possibly need in a neat little binder. My stomach was in knots and a friend came along with me. I hated that i had to do this because i knew the repercussions i was about to face when he realized i put in an order. After a couple of weeks, i was given a court date and i waited and waited for that dreaded call from him. It never came of course because they couldn’t serve him, so court dates were pushed back and rescheduled at least 5 times. It has been two years and i still have not been to court to even begin the process. In the interim, i have begged his father for help only to have $26 dollars thrown my way or to beg for new shoes and clothing. Sometimes he would help, but more often than not I was ignored. My mother would be the one who bought his shoes, clothes and Christmas presents this past year. And I paid her back in installments and in gift cards that people had given to me as gifts, i went to several taste tests where they paid you and promptly turned that over to her. It was like handing someone a bag of pennies you collected and hoped that they understood you were trying. And she does and she did and words can’t express how grateful i am for that support. She even came to stay with me over winter break for a month to help take care of him while he was out of school so he wouldn’t have to be alone while i worked since i couldn’t afford for him to be in a camp or anything.
This Saturday, I finally got the call. I had fallen asleep on the couch and my phone buzzed me awake. I sleepily answered and his father was on the other line.
“I got the papers” he said, in a low voice
“What papers?” I sleepily asked
“I got the papers. The child support papers”
“Oh…..” I sat in silence for what seemed and eternity but was probably just a few seconds, bracing myself for impact. Trying to remind myself to be strong, that I knew he was about o be awful to me but any of the words that came out of his mouth were not true. That I wasn’t awful for asking for help, that it was his job as a parent to want his son to succeed.
“You need to withdraw this” he said
“Um..No” I said quietly, then asserted myself “No”
“You really want to put him through this? You want him to go through a paternity test? You need to withdraw”
“Uh, he’s not going to go through anything, he’s not going to court this is child support. I filed this 2 years ago, when you refused to help me with day care and I had to send him off. This is because he needs shoes and underwear and clothes and I shouldn’t have to beg you and plead to help him”
“You need to withdraw this”….. and then there were other exchanges that are not really important to this narrative. But the jist of it is he tried to get me to cancel the order. He gave me reasons why this wasn’t a good idea and tried to play on my insecurities and I held firm. I hung up the phone and sat in silence for a few minutes. Not really knowing what fresh hell I was about to open with this. My stomach ached, I was nauseous. Because what you don’t realize is even getting away from your abuser, your never really free and sometimes the sound of their voice or a disagreement gives you flashbacks of the worst of times.
About a half an hour later, he calls back. I answer the phone with a “hello…” followed by silence.
“Are you going to put him through this?” he says more forcefully this time. “Have you looked at Michael?, have you looked at him?”
Knowing where this was going I responded with “Uh yes, I know what my son looks like, i only gave birth to him and i see him everyday”
“Oh YOUR son” he said. I thought to myself, oh boy here we go. “Because he doesn’t look anything like me. Do you think he looks like me?” he said angrily. “He looks nothing like me”
Cheese and Rice on a fucking stick. Are you serious?! Was all I could think. I didn’t even get to respond before he said “Because they are going to put him through a paternity test and you need to withdraw, because he doesn’t look like me and you’re going to put him through this”
So this is where he is mentally now. He’s upset that he has been ordered to pay child support and now after 12 years he’s trying to attack my integrity by implying that there is a possibility that our son is not his. He is. There is no doubt.
I answer back with “Look I know you’re sitting there with hopes and dreams of a Maury Povich situation where you get off the hook on a technicality, but he’s your son. Don’t you ever question me again about that. You raised him, you were there when he was born, he has your mannerisms, you and your fathers eyes among other things. Besides, he’s a bi-racial child, guess what genius? he’s not gonna look like anyone, (Even though the kid is my doppelgänger honestly, which is OK because UM I’M HIS MOM)
Then he responded with what he does best, the big bow on the gift of insulting “Oh you think I don’t want him to be my son? why would you say that?” And ladies and gents that is called gas-lighting. Bringing up something, creating a fuss and then turning it around on the other party as if they created the issue and thus they begin to replay and question their sanity. Realizing this i ended the conversation immediately and decided that i needed to have a talk with our son . He’s twelve. if there is a court order that involves a paternity test (which is normal in cases where you file for child support and were never married, this isn’t because my morality is in question or because its assumed i passed my vagina around like an hor de oeuvres plate, its standard procedure in my state. )
I decided to go upstairs and see my sweet boy who was playing video games and none the wiser. “Hey Buddy” I said “Do you have a second? I have to talk to you about something that’s kinda hard”
“Sure” he replied
“Buddy…” and I took a deep breath, a minute or so passed before I could muster up the words to start this awful conversation, but my son and I have that type of relationship. Were very open and honest, you have to be when your running a house like ours. It has to run like a well oiled machine. “Buddy, um, do you know what child support is?”
“Not really, No” he said
“um, well child support is when one parent asks for help financially from the other parent. To help them buy clothes and food and things that the kid needs. Sometimes, child support has to be done in the courts because of the way its set up”
My son, who is half wise but also half sarcastic, a trait he definitely got from me says “So you’re suing daddy?”
“No dude, I’m not suing Daddy. I filed for help a few years ago and they finally sent him the paperwork and we have to go figure some things out. But I’m telling you this because of the way it works, you have to go to a lab and they have to swab your cheek. Its to establish paternity. They do that to protect the dad because there are some not so nice people out there who lie and say that the father is one person when it really isn’t so they make everyone do this”
He laughs and goes into a Maury Povich “you are not the father!” dialogue. I give him side eye and say “Sorry bud, that’s not the case here. Your mother remembers well when you were conceived and there is no doubt in my mind, that’s your daddy”
My son in a moment of clarity and knowing his father says “Let me guess, Daddy’s mad and acting like I might not be his”
“Well, he’s a little surprised by the order and asked me to cancel it, but I said that i wouldn’t because it’s not fair. You have things that you need and i try my best to provide them, but i need a little help. I hate that i even have to ask, but i had to, and I’m so sorry buddy, that you have to be part of this. You wont have to go to court, we wont fight,He sill loves you, he’s your Daddy. i just had to tell you because of the swab thingy” and then i hung my head in shame and started to tear up.
My son, the best thing to ever come out of our genes, said “Mommy, don’t feel bad. You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone. You have already shown that you can do it and if you need help that OK. Adults always tell kids to ask for help but forget to do it when you become and adult and if you have tried all you could and exhausted all your options, then this is what you have to do”
I look up at this amazing soul and say “how did you get so wise?” and he gives me a sly grin and a mischievous look and then yells out again “You are NOT the father!” because Maury Povich to him is funny and he’s 12 and a stinker. I laugh and give him a hug, call him a bum and ask him if he has any questions. We talk about the stigma of unwed mothers, the baby mama title, the feeling that people think we are out here getting our nails done and at the club spending child support money while our kids sit at home hungry and in filth. I tell him its unfair and that most of the time the money people get is only a little so it’s not even what the main provider spends in a month. That this wasn’t a “Mommy is mad at dad” thing and that anything i received we would put into his bank account and use for his needs. He seemed to handle it well. however, after i walked downstairs about an hour later, he said “I’ve tried calling Daddy twice and now he’s not answering”
Hold your head high little one, we will get through this. This isnt the life i wanted for us, but ill figure out a way to make it a life your proud of.
The not so powerful Oz
It’s 3:37 a.m and I’m wide awake because I crashed on the couch last night after a long physically and emotionally draining week . I was president of everything yesterday and then I had to come home and cook dinner. Like many times I contemplated ordering out or picking up pre made food at the grocery store. As I sat at the traffic light i checked my bank account, knowing it would be slim as payday is tomorrow. When i logged in i saw that i was negative again. Fuck. not an unfamiliar site, but i was hoping a few bills would clear tomorrow, not last night merely hours before my direct deposit hit. i had to buy Michael some last-minute stuff for school and he lost his glasses. …..again.
As I walk through the door im greeted by “Hi mommy. I’m starving” a normal thing these days with a growing 12-year-old boy. “Hi baby, I know. I had to work late today so I’m sorry I’ll fix something in a few. let me take off my shoes and change” i drag myself up the stairs and sit on the toilet to just breath.
He has no idea that today was particularly hard. I had a VIP meeting at the hotel where our owners attended and had to make sure it went well. Then the same owners had a cocktail reception an hour and a half after their meeting . Which meant at work , it was an all hands on deck situation. Not only was I the sales person in charge, but I spent the better half of my day in the kitchen preparing trays of food. Our hotel is small and not prepared to handle a tight turn around so we were all wearing different hats. I was running around so much and trying to figure out how we were going to turn a meeting into a reception with food with limited help in less than an hour and a half and still make it look good. It was such a chaotic day, I hadn’t eaten breakfast and had to be reminded to eat a sandwich at lunch. When it was time for me to eat i made myself a grilled cheese and sat down with my friends at work resting my aching feet for the first time all morning. Then the phone rang. It was Michael’s vice principal, she was responding to an email I had hastily sent that morning requesting a meeting with her. Michael had been complaining about a teacher at school who had been telling him and certain children that “They would never amount to anything” or that “They wouldn’t go far in life” and the same teacher had kicked him off the robotics team but didn’t tell him. When I spoke to the teacher the day prior he actually said he “hated teaching this class”. Michael had tried to handle it himself by talking to administrators but it had gotten out of hand so mom had to step in. After missing about half my lunch and talking to her, she explained what was going to be done and would follow-up next week. I walked back to the lunch table to finish up my now cold grilled cheese and my engineer, with his thick Jamaican accent says”Denise, you need to stop stressin’ it’s no good .” I had caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror on my way back to the table and saw that face was red and chest was blotchy. “I wish i could bud” was all I could say.
After lunch it was a go-go go again up until it was time to flip the room for the banquet. I have amazing co workers so it went off without a hitch and finally after a 10 hour day I could go home. My dress was dirty from food prep, my hair in a messy ponytail and my feet throbbing . I couldn’t wait to get home and just sit-except i had to make dinner.
So as I’m sitting in my bathroom peeling off my sweaty clothes I let out a deep sigh . I’m so tired of working so hard to just barely live paycheck to paycheck. I had just gotten to a decent place when i had to take out the loan for surgery and now here i am struggling . As I’m sitting there trying to figure out what i could feed my sweet boy, it dawned on me that I had completely forgotten to refill Michael’s cafeteria account last paycheck and I made a mental note to fill it the next morning when i got paid. I pulled up the app to see if he had money left or if i would need to find change for him to eat. and to my motherly horror i realize that his account was at zero and there werent any lunch purchases for the entire week! i jump up and run downstairs and yell out to my son “buddy did you eat today?!” He replies “no.” My heart sinks. “Oh My God Michael! I’m so sorry i didn’t realize your account was empty ” he says “that’s ok, one of my friends gave me a few chips ”
I die a little inside. I ask him if he ate yesterday and he replies that he hasn’t really eaten all week but that one day the lunch lady leant him a dollar so he could eat and that he had to pay her back.
I exclaim “a week! I had no idea, i didn’t get the notification. why didn’t you tell me that you haven’t been eating?!”
He responded with ” I’ve just been reading books, I know that you didn’t have any money and i didn’t want to worry you”
and guys if you ever want to know what it feels like to utterly fail your kid and him be completely aware, this is that moment. He sweetly says “its ok mommy, I just didn’t want to worry you” I died a thousand deaths.
I walk out of the room and pop out his dinner. Making sure he gets a double helping. I’ll just eat popcorn and I tell him that tonight he can eat in his bedroom watching TV. He happily runs upstairs. I then stare at the negative account and think to myself “shit. maybe my mom can let me borrow $10 for his lunch account and how i need to write a thank you note to the lunch lady for using her own money to feed him that day” I know it’s a long shot but i decide to call his father first. I’m not bashing him today, but in the past it has been like pulling teeth to get financial help from him and I brace myself for the worse. he picks up the phone and I immediately start with “Michael hasn’t been eating this week, i have no money, can you please put money in his lunch account?” let me tell you that this is also a horrible conversation to have, because it is admitting to the other parent that you are not doing as well as you would like them to believe . He asks for my log in information and puts $25 in his lunch account. I do the math in my head and realize that is 62 lunches or 31 breakfast and 31 lunches. that’s a sweet relief for the moment. i tell him thank you, hang up and tell Michael that his daddy put money in his account. Then i scramble in search of a dollar to pay back the lunch lady .
To say I feel like complete and utter shit is an understatement. I call my mom to explain my shit parenting and she says to tell Michael to let her know if that happens again, that if he doesn’t want to worry me that she will put money into his account. I have amazing parents but i still feel like utter shit. I should be able to do this at 37. I had just asked her to buy him some sneakers a couple of weeks back with a hopeful promise that i could pay her in instalments. In my heart of all hearts I will but in small increments. She never reminds me or asks for the money and sometimes it’s months before i can even begin to pay. But I’m grateful to have them. i feel like a failure though as you can imagine.
And so after an emotional and physical day I passed out on the couch. Food still in my hair and now I’m up with insomnia . I’m thinking about how to creatively pay bills. How I’m going to pay my mom back for Christmas because she’s letting me use her as lay away for Michaels gift. How I’m barely above water. How i have a broken tooth that needs to be pulled but i can’t do it now. How i thought the whole time i was fooling Michael into thinking i had it together. He doesn’t know that for weeks I’ve been working with the YMCA for a basketball scholarship or how the amazing Mom’s at OBM helped me out so he could play. he doesn’t know what it takes to run the house and family and this week he peaked behind the curtain and saw that the all-powerful Oz was just a tiny human behind the curtain .
Humility is a hard pill to swallow y’all. and now I have to force myself to sleep because we have to be up for school and work in an hour and a half. please excuse my typos it’s now 4:28 a.m
The Plague of the Single Mother
It was the end of a rather chaotic day. My son and his friends had accidentally broken a neighborhood basketball goal and we had to scramble to replace it. A few friends had come to assess the situation and someone very special to me showed up, tools in hand and ready to put in the hard work. There was no way I could have done this by myself. There was gratitude and love pouring from my heart as i watched my son and this person put together a goal. They laughed and semi bonded as much as you can bond with a twelve-year-old boy and the stress of my day-to-day life was relieved but for a short moment. As the evening progressed we got into rather deep conversations, as we are known for and started talking about the future and things that we wanted. I felt safe and secure and open. I voiced my opinions about a few things and laughed and drank a Margarita. I thanked him and sent him little tiny love hearts from my soul to his. The brief history is he is my Mr Big. A friendship that has spanned more than a decade. A quiet love, an understanding. But like two ship crossing in the night, it never seems to workout. Timing and Life just never seem to allow us to meet where I would want us to. It tortures me sometimes and yet i show up with a smile and an open heart, one that thinks that maybe after kissing all these frogs, eventually i will get my turn. I will find my Prince. Now I’ve walked away from this “love” many times. Were not the type to fight or say mean things. He’s one of the kindest souls Ive ever met. Beautifully tortured and weathered by life. His personality mirroring Tristan from Legends of the Fall, which sounds romantic until i realize that I am Susanna – the one who loves the unconquerable, free roaming spirit that is Tristan. Nothing good will ever come of this, I know how this story ends.The thing about loving an unconquerable soul and it’s not for the weak, is understanding that sometimes the unpredictable happens and i suppose that’s exciting, the other part of that is that often times its accompanied by a bit of torture and when that soul goes deep sometimes things are said that there is no recovering from.
In my case, last night, it came in the form of “I can’t be with someone who has a child from another man…..” followed by reasons and run on sentences. He sat there staring at the ceiling not even realizing what he said. It wasn’t said in malice, just not thought through. I dropped my needle and thread (i was stitching a hole in a bag) and said to him “That was the most unkind thing you have ever said to me.” He immediately opened his mouth, eyes widened and realized in horror what he had said. He tried to explain and I calmly said to him “From the Overflow of the Heart the Mouth Speaks, and your mouth is speaking loudly” He grew silent. I tried to recover, gain my composure, tried to pretend it didn’t feel like a thousand daggers in my heart. But the damage was done. In that moment the tiny light of what was left, my humanity, felt snuffed out. I wasn’t angry. I told him that, one should never apologize for their truth and that although not the answer i would ever want to hear, it was pointless to try to convince him otherwise. I knew at that moment, the story of me and my Mr. Big would have to end. That my “Tristan” would ultimately be my demise.
Which brings me to a restless night and thinking. What is it about some men that are bothered or threatened or put off by a single mother? On dating sites, sometimes we are avoided like the plague. Like we are part of a leper colony. Some men have no issues. I have yet to meet one, but i know they exist because my friends who were in similar situations have met men who love them and their children. I can’t get mad at people who don’t want to be involved with a single mother, it is definitely not for the weak. In my situation, my son is my top priority. I work to provide us a beautiful home, I drive us around in an old Dodge, we have activities, i do homework, i cook, clean, sing, dance and provide single-handed;y for us. In my situation, I’m not looking for a savior. Someone to pay my bills or support my son. He’s 12, there’s not much to do at this point except guidance and reaping the rewards of a decades worth of hard work. So why does this life scare some? Why do some men run from us like we are gearing up to unleash the apocalypse? Maybe its the media portrayal? Maybe its the bad apples spoiling it for some of us. Maybe Ive only met a certain type of men. Maybe its just me. Who knows.
I’ve read several articles and opinions on this to gain a better understanding and my “friend” had his own explanation. These are a few gems that I have run across my deep dark walk through the Internet
- From Reddit: let’s say that you weren’t married when you got pregnant, for the sake of this discussion. What does the man already know about you? First, that you make poor, selfish decisions about your kids. You see, having children outside of marriage is bad for the kids – it has been proved over and over again.
- From a Blog: Single moms though have obviously already been through their share of relationships along with all the experiences of being a parent too. If I wanted to get seriously involved with a single mom, I’d have to forgo the dream of having a wife where we spend time together before kids, then slowly grow together as parents from the very beginning. Instead, I’d have to hit the ground running and learn how to be a fatherly image to kids that are not mine, despite having absolutely no experience whatsoever of being a dad. Kids, who more likely than not would resent me and my presence for not being their real dad.
- And just to add insult to injury, a lot of single moms don’t want to have more children, so I don’t even get the benefit of fathering kids of my own. So I’m tasked with caring and draining my financial resources for a family that I have no blood ties with, with a wife who would likely have no time for me because she has her kids to think about. My whole life would revolve around the fruit of another man’s loins. Errr, no thanks.
- Comments on Threads: Single moms are truly the epitome of why other nations hate the West. They create these matriarchal fiefdoms all backed, paid for, and legislated by the government(either through welfare or by child support/alimony). They are greedy, narcissistic, shallow, vapid, manipulative, unafraid to annihilate and ruin you using the law and are a severe blight on any industrialized nation. The kids grow up, being an accessory and a pawn to the mother’s life. She values herself 100x more than her kids. The cycle often repeats, where the daughters engage in the same slutty, poor behavior. And the sons either become thugs or become omegas. Repeat ad nauseum.
- Pity be upon those who get ensnared by these leeches
Pretty grim, pretty dark and if I was in a weak state of mind, i would allow this to mold my thoughts about how I am viewed by the world.Who knows. Am I going to sit here and pretend that it is an ideal situation? No. Does it get messy at times? Yep. Is this the most rewarding yet most difficult situation i have been in my entire life yes and yes. But let me tell you what i have learned being a single mother:
- There is nothing I can’t face. Juggling work, after school programs, dinner, broken plumbing and a project on the economy and a dog and cat to tend to? I got this shit.
- Only $25 left to last two weeks? watch me make some pretty fancy gourmet meals out of this. The skills I possess would put MacGuyver to shame.
- I can wiggle my way to the front row of every performance, award ceremony and recital that makes the Flash look like a tortoise. After all, its my face in the crowd he looks for and I need to get pictures and its my voice he hears above everyone else cheering his name.
- I’m creative. What you need a Vasco De Gama costume or to be George Washington in 3 hours because you forgot to tell Mom? Sure thing! I live for this. Let me grab the sheets of the bed and some paint and needle and thread and Ive seen enough Project Runway unconventional challenges to make this work!
- I give the best cuddles, hugs, kisses and support.
- I’m really strong. insanely strong for being 5″4. With no one to help move couches, lift boxes or open pipes I’ve had to do it on my own. I’m like Xena The Princess Warrior over here
- I can fix anything. Well almost. Thanks to Google i feel like i can do almost anything.
- I’m resourceful.
- I’m braver. Nothing intimidates me or scares me anymore. I’ll stand up and talk to a 6 ft man like a chihuahua does to a pit bull lol
And I know that life has handed me a challenging situation but i honestly feel like this experience has helped me grow as a human. To evolve as a woman. And if someone can’t see that awesomeness and how my skill set can clearly enhance their life, than Sayanora Suckers! Me and mine will be just fine and I wouldn’t trade this adventure for all the Prince Charming kisses in the world. And if you have any doubt to how awesome our life is, please enjoy below ❤
It’s my Blogiversary!
Happy 1st Year of my Blog! I guess it’s my blogiversary – if that’s a thing- if not it is now! I just wanted to say thank you all for sticking with me this first year as is bared my soul, shared my shenanigans and just took one step closer to my dream of writing. It means so much that i have had over 3,000+ visitors/readers to the blog and I hope i can do better this year!
I have decided that instead of limiting myself to a certain number of adventures per year i was just going to keep on going. Its been crazy and fun but most of all enlightening. I attended a great training class this week and it was a real eye opener, as far as what i am doing with my life and what i would like to be doing and this is a real big step!
On top of the Blogiverary I also finished celebrating birthday month. Yes, you read that right- birthday month! My son and I both have birthdays in September, I turned…ahem excuse me- leveled up to 37 and he turned 12. There are so many new things and challenges happening in our lives right now and i cant wait to tell you all about it. I wanted to make sure to drop you a quick post to thank you though and to send you all the love i have. If you want to celebrate with me, drop me a comment, let me know how you plan on being adventurous, what new things you are doing or hope to do and how you are just waking up on the right side of awesome everyday it would mean the world! ❤
With so much love,
Black Lives Matter, United we stand.
I keep seeing “ALL LIVES MATTER” on my feed and i wanted to just explain something- because i don’t think people truly are wanting to understand. When people say “Black Lives Matter” it does not mean that other lives do not matter. It does not mean that police lives do not matter or LGBT lives do not matter or that white lives do not matter. What it is is a cry for help, a reminder of a people that have been denied rights and freedom and have been oppressed since the inception of our country. It is a reminder to people that “Hey were here too and we need help” To say “All lives matter” is dismissive of the problem that is being brought to our collective attention. Its saying – hey yeah i get that your people are being incarcerated by the thousands and this year alone 153 unarmed black men/women were killed by police brutality—but what about my feelings? This movement, this statement is so much more than saying “I don’t see race or color” Some may offer a rebuttal and say “Blah, blah blah, Black on black crime” That is not an argument to be had at this moment. That is not the current issue. To use B.O.B Crime as an argument standpoint is dismissive, it is as if ISIS would be justified in bombing us because of American on American Crime- that just doesn’t make sense. Or saying that the people in Orlando deserved it because of Gay on Gay crime- is that even a thing??? You see, we/some never had to grow up like this, your children may not have to experience what black people have. My own son at the age of 4 learned what it was like to be called a Nigger. He has been called one ever since by kids at school and on the bus. He has been accused of doing something and when the truth came out it turned out he was singled out because of his race Its an eye opener and its heartbreaking and we should all care about this because in a blink of an eye they can come after us. I don’t say this to minimize the horrific tragedies that have happened as of late, we are all brothers and sisters, be it brown, black, white, yellow, LGBT, cis, disabled, religious, atheist etc. We need to find compassion and love and understand that an injustice towards one is an injustice towards all and we just cant be dismissive anymore. #standunited
The reality of it all
I know its been about a month since Ive last posted and the last time you all heard from me I was out of surgery. It has been an interesting month. I’ll cut to the chase and answer what I’m sure many of you want to know.As of today I have lost 22 lbs. It wasn’t easy and it downright sucked. To take years of bad habits and turn them around literally overnight and detox from sodas and sugars is straight up torture. Add to that the fact that you are also recovering from surgery and having your stomach look like dead Jon Snows chest- it all equals a recipe for F-U-N.
There have been times when I have attempted to communicate with the dog and the cat to have them go fetch me a steak, alas a Lassie I do not have. I just have the type of pets who sit on your chest while your recovering and try to smother you while you gasp for air. My mother has been a tremendous help and my son has stepped up to help with household stuff when needed.
The rough part really came when I had to return to work a week after surgery. My doctor had recommended 2-3 weeks. But in the real world, I had used up my sick and vacation days to take care of my son when he was sick so there weren’t that many left. I showed up to work with a bag full of prescribed drugs, a heating pad and a prayer. Now i work in a hotel and for those of you that know hospitality it is rare that you just get to sit there and not do anything. My amazing co-workers helped when they could when it came to lifting or anything I couldn’t handle. Id have good days and bad days and then really bad days where I had to go home early and just sleep. And as the pain got better- i got hit with a new pain. Somehow i developed a pinched nerve in my butt. It showed up a week ago and I’m literally sitting here in searing pain because it now has traveled to my hips and my thighs. Dr. Google says it may be my sciatica. Which means I need to go see the doctor. But here’s the reality of it all. I had to take out a loan for my surgery because my insurance doesn’t cover it, which added an extra $470 bill to my already stretched budget. Whenever I go see this doctor I have a $200 co-pay so I’m trying to budget that in, then as Murphy’s Law would have it, my car battery died and I had to borrow $154 from my Mom to pay for it. Now add in this new pain and I’m looking at needing to go to the Chiropractor which is going to be another bill that I frankly do not have the money for. So I’m taking Tylenol and researching stretches all In hopes something fixes it- but we all know that in reality I need to go to the doctor. Last night I was in tears on the couch because the nerve pain was so bad and my mother and son had to help me up the stairs and into bed. I didn’t sleep and then had to hold onto walls this morning to make it into the shower to get ready for work. The last place I want to be. My sweet son asked why I couldn’t call off of work and I had to tell him that I didn’t have any sick days or vacation days. The truth is (and it was not conveyed to him) that if I don’t work we don’t eat. Its as simple as that. So he gets on the bus and I wave him off and start the car to get to work, at the same time I’m crying my eyes out. One for the pain and two because the burden of this all is just too hard.
One thing that people don’t understand and I hate to be on this Single Mom soapbox. But it is really hard. Really really hard. I don’t say this to minimize any ones journey. I’m not up here saying that it is THE hardest or that others cant relate but from my perspective it is the hardest thing I have ever done. To be perfectly frank – on paper I make a decent living, I do not currently receive any child support and asking my son’s father for help is like getting blood from a rock. I literally have to beg and then be put through a waiting period before I get any scraps thrown our way. There have been times I have had to ask my parents for money for groceries. I do not qualify for any government assistance because on paper I look good. Over 3/4 of my income go to my mortgage and health insurance and house bills. I do not drive a fancy car, get my nails done, go out to fancy restaurants or have new clothes or even a savings account. I work paycheck to paycheck. I work for us to survive. And honestly the weight of that sits on my shoulders everyday. This morning I cried because I do not have relief from this even for a day. I do not have someone to share this load with and Its getting heavier and heavier by the day and so i cry. I cry because I cant just come home and say “Help me, I’m tired” I cling onto my mother who has been with me for over a month because she will leave next week and then who will help me when I cant get off the couch or I’m too exhausted to cook or even exist. The fact that I have her is a luxury and I would be lying if I said next week when she leaves I will have a giant void to fill and then its back to my normal life of doing it alone.
My son asked me this morning why I couldn’t just find a husband to help me. As if it were that easy. As if me being exhausted to do basic stuff could afford me the energy to go out and date. Let alone to convince someone that I am amazing and fully capable of adulting even though inside I’m falling apart.
And that my friends is the ugly, unglamorous truth. This is what I deal with and this is what you will probably in normal conversation never hear me say. I don’t like to be a burden to others and I don’t want people to think I cant do this because I can and I will. So today I’m back on the saddle so to speak, I will wipe away the tears cried this morning, put on fresh lipstick, smile and when I see my son this afternoon I will hug him with the heartiest hug ever mustered. I will make sure he feels safe and is fed and he is ready for school tomorrow. He will be none the wiser and I will feel better to have Mommed up. Nothing has changed and I don’t expect it to. I’m a realist that way. After he goes to be I will be up trying to think of how to squeeze in a second job without leaving my kid alone – which wont happen. I will think of things I can sell- which isn’t much since we don’t have expensive jewelry or anything worth value. I will get upset because I filed for child support over a year ago and have yet to receive a court date and I know that if i ever do it still wont be enough to help. I will consider getting a roommate, I will consider renting out a room on Air BnB. I will cut back on the A/C and things like that to make it another month. I will make it work and none will be the wiser. And I wont get a badge or a job well done after all this is a thankless job. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but again I would be lying if I said it wasn’t the most exhausting thing. I like to think that I will emerge a warrior of sorts or that my son will grow up to be a well adjusted, kind and magnificent man and then this will all have been worth it. I just want him to be happy- he deserves that.
Beautifully Fat and Gracefully Unapologetic
Hey guys. I’ve been debating whether or not to say anything about my surgery today and finally decided to think about it differently than how i was looking at it. This is definitely the ultimate adventure, one that will prolong my life and allow me to continue with the shenanigans currently planned.
So some of my friends know that i struggle with PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome) for basic info click here PCOS for Dummies
Basically it has made my life really difficult in regards to my ovaries, my hair has thinned, my face has broken out, I’ve been told my son is a beautiful miracle because it can cause fertility issues, it reeks havoc on my hormones and gives me weight gain that is nearly impossible to lose due to the lovely metabolic disorder that accompanies it. Sexy huh? There is no cure and many doctors do not know how to treat it. I have had to seek out specialists because it has caused me to become morbidly obese and you can imagine all the medications i have to take to prevent diabetes and heart disease on top of keeping an eye on ovarian cancer. I’ve also learned throughout all this that many insurance companies fail to acknowledge obesity as a disease and attach a shameful stigma to it. Many do not cover the medication or the surgeries to prevent diabetes and other co morbities, unless it is coded a certain way and any mention of Obesity and it sends up a red flag. In my situation my employer specifically excludes bariatric surgery or any treatment of obesity. That’s insane! After talking and emailing H.R i learned there are no appeals, no relief. It was suggested i purchase additional insurance from another source, but here’s the kicker, The insurance under the new Healthcare Act allows states to decide whether or not to treat bariatric surgery and Georgia, amongst many others is not required to cover it. When i called around for information i was told it was considered “cosmetic ” which is utter and complete rubbish. I wasn’t fat because i sat around eating copius amounts of twinkies and milkshakes. I am fat because of a metabolic disorder, something beyond my control. So in order to save my life, i had to apply for a $10,000 loan. And I’m sitting here praying i can pay for it and that for the next three years my son won’t get sick, break a leg, the house won’t need repairs- that i have no life emergencies because it will literally put me in a financial hole. But i deserve to live.
Which brings me to why i didn’t want to tell anyone about my surgery. If you have been on the Internet, logged onto social media or even seen the news you will see that there has been a positive shift of body acceptance going on. Plus size models are on covers of Sports Illustrated, in lingerie, in bikinis. Hell, i even bought one. But if you dare click on the comments people post you will read hundreds of people bashing plus size women. Calling us disgusting. That we don’t deserve to be happy with ourselves, we don’t deserve to feel beautiful. That its not ok for us to enjoy a cheeseburger every now and then without snickers from people. The sad part is that people think they are supplying new information, trust me, in our lowest moments we have already told ourselves that we are unworthy, undeserving, stupid, lazy, that we should settle. Then one day we woke up and joined “Team F@#$ that $hit” and shut down the noise. I deserve to be beautiful, to be loved, to have amazing sex, to run races alongside fit people. I earned those medals and finished the mud runs and I deserve what every one else deserves-common decency and respect.
I will admit I was torn when i finally decided to go ahead and have LapBand surgery. I was ashamed. It took my doctors almost 10 years to talk me into it and when it got to the point where it was affecting my life, the choice was made for me. So here i am. Fresh off the O.R table. Recovering from surgery this morning. I dread coming out about this because i feel that now I’ll be under a magnifying glass, that people will watch my every bite, every sip even more and if i don’t lose at the rate that they feel i should, will they whisper that I’m a failure? The sane part in me says “so what!” shut out that noise. I curse the media for telling me that I’m not good enough unless i fit a mold, that I’m only defined by a pre-determined standard of beauty. And truth be told, I’ve never thought i was ugly, I’ve not had any issues where im ashamed of my size, I don’t look in the mirror and put myself down. i dress very well and I’m physically active. I fucking slay on a daily basis and i encourage you to look away and carry on with your life if you can’t handle my awesomeness- But i had to do this to save my life not to please others or to make it more comfortable for them to be around me. I did this so that I could be around for my son and future grandbabies. So i could make it to my 100th birthday which is on Saturday September 22, 2079 – so if you’re not busy, you’re totally invited 😆
My great adventure today was LapBand Surgery. I’m feeling sore, I’m groggy and maybe it’s the meds talking but I’m feeling brave. I offer no apologies and today i reject the social stigma of weight and beauty and i gift myself “treat yo self”, i celebrate life, i celebrate me.
My Big Fat Puerto Rican Life
Growing up in our family and much like many other families was something that needed to be experienced not simply described. Describing it would make you think that we were seriously over exaggerating our very colorful, loving up bringing. That there was no way in the world that we actually had a mother who would show up to school in Madonna-esque bustiers that she made herself, or spiky spray colored hair. That she had six ear piercings and would wait for me at the bus stop to fill me in on the latest scandalous MTV music video. That we never really ate out because she cooked us amazing food every night and to this day- my father and I practically refuse to eat anyone’s chicken and rice or arroz con gandules and habichuelas – because if it my mother didn’t make it why waste your time. Explaining that growing up my mother didn’t speak English so she would try to learn from us when we got home from school or that she had the best catch phrases from The Price is Right, Police Academy movies and Coming to America. That when she said “beach” it sounded like “bitch”- we always got a good laugh at that. And now 32 years later she has learned to speak perfectly – yet its somehow a mystery that her accent gets thicker by the day.
We often spoke by yelling – not that we were mad – that’s just how we talked. A fact that upset my very American born son who for the first years of his life thought we were just mad when in fact it was the opposite. Ive explained to him that we talk super loud as to make sure you understood that you were loved lol. He now at 11 has no volume whatsoever.
My father like many Puerto Rican men is simple and quiet – and that’s not because he wants to be but he really cant get a word in edgewise in a room full of 3 Puerto Rican women. My brother has also gone mute. He proudly and faithfully served the United States Air Force for 26+ years and is the reason we all have amazing, productive lives and a million friends, we are open minded, kind, loving, resilient, peaceful and trustworthy an example he taught us from early on. On top of growing up Puerto Rican we were also Military BRATS. Which is a different experience altogether, we were used to moving with short notice, we knew how to make friends fast and easily leave. We adapted to our surroundings fairly quickly and did our part to hold onto the honor that was my fathers life. Supporting him meant supporting our country. So you can say we had pride and passion running through our veins from our roots to our nation. We love hard, fight hard and dream big. We honored the red, white and blue of both our flags and wore them both with great pride.
Wherver we moved we took our traditions with us. The flag and several flag emblazoned items were prominently displayed in the house. There was no secret where we came from and if you forgot we would remind you. My mother taught me the history of Puerto Rico and even bought me my own set of Puerto Rican Encyclopedias. I was taught and can still sing the national anthem of the island “Oh tierra de Borinquen, donde nacido yoooooooo”
Our friends were always welcome. A warm hug and kiss from both my parents are what greet you when you enter our home. We adopted EVERYBODY. No one has ever been turned away and a belly has never left our home hungry. You were also yelled at and disciplined because once you set foot into our house, you became one of us. My parents didn’t see a difference between birthed and non birthed children. Everyone was their child. I remember my father coming home from deployment and the doorbell ringing and the neighborhood kids asking if Big Dennis could come out to play. Myself, my brother Tito and my sister Nana would yell out “Dad! its for you” and he would go outside and play with all the kids. By the way this wasn’t creepy, we lived on a military base so oftentimes everyone’s dad were gone on deployments so we just took care of our own. It was understood living on base that you were taken care of by the entire community. Sometimes kids didn’t have either parent at home and its hard. My dad grew up an Army BRAT so he understood and he stepped up to the plate and played neighborhood dad with everyone. My mom would let them spend the night or let the mothers know that their kids had eaten or whatever was needed. We had that house. All were welcome, none where turned away.
Now having this type of family also meant we partied hard and food was a barter. My mom would cook her famous chicken and rice,pack it up in Tupperware and my best friends mom would trade her collard greens and corn bread. Its still like this 20 years later.
Again this is pretty hard to explain and sometimes downright unbelievable. So when the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” was released we died laughing at the similarities. It was our family on screen but in Greek! It literally went by the book in our life so much so that the scene where Gus introduces his family as “Nick, Nick, Nicky, Maria, Maria” is where my family goes “Dennis, Denise, Dennis, Jenny and Jennifer” No lie, hand to God! The movie perfectly shows how we are so much so that i own a copy and I show everyone who has not seen it as preparation for my family.
We recently had our very own first wedding in our immediate family. My brother Tito (real name Dennis) was married last week. I wanted to share pictures of the REHEARSAL DINNER – I wont post photos of the wedding as my brother and sister in law paid for really great pictures and that would be in poor taste for me to put those up without permission. However feast your eyes on this 🙂
She had requested beforehand that people dress in traditional Puerto Rican dress and I have to say that everyone was a great sport about it. It really turned out nice. Much like Toula in MBFGW i snickered at the thought but had to eat my words with a side of arroz con pollo as it really did turn out very nice.
I really am fortunate to have them as my family. And much like Toula realizes in the movie, that there just is no better way than growing up Greek, i will say that I have been blessed to grow up Puerto Rican. To know my family is to love them, embrace them and know that instantly you become one of us. Cheers to the ones that started it all. This is my love letter to you. ❤